Monday, January 30, 2023
Bringing the Latest in News Straight to Your Screen


How Using Next-Gen Personalization Can Wow Your Customers And Build Your Bottom Line

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at November 18, 2021

Mokhtar “MJ” Jabli is founder and CEO of The Nightfall Group, California’s premiere luxury rental and travel concierge service.

Businesses desiring to distinguish their brand and bolster their bottom line in today’s highly competitive world would be wise to include personalization in their marketing and outreach plans.

While personalization has been around for more than a decade, businesses that satiate customers’ voracious appetites for the elusive “wow factor” can use this to become more visible in an increasingly cluttered and crowded market. Savvy marketers are standing out by leveraging advances in machine learning, AI, data and analytics to personalize customers’ experiences and deliver immediate gratification at every stage of the sales continuum. And this evolution isn’t just happening online — it’s also happening in traditional brick and mortar stores.

The next generation of consumers expects personalization from all the businesses with whom they engage, including yours. In the era of instant gratification, more than three-fourths of Americans are likely to engage with businesses that provide immersive, personalized experiences; they’re 10 times more likely to become long-term valued customers. According to a Think with Google survey, 90% of marketers say personalization significantly contributes to business profitability.

To remain relevant in your market segment, build in personalized experiences that enable consumers to customize their interactions and ultimately fulfill their unique needs and wants.

Businesses and brands who authentically engage their customers will understand how to conceive, design and deliver bespoke experiences that boost retention and profits. Now that you know what’s at stake, let’s look at the sizzle behind the steak, that is, how to present your customers meaningful, memorable and measurable personalized experiences.

Identify customer desires and quickly fulfill them.

While personalization is good for business, customers also crave it. According to Segment’s 2017 State of Personalization Report, “Consumers expect highly personalized shopping experiences from retailers and are willing to spend more money when brands deliver targeted recommendations.”

Brands can certainly generate revenue by staying true to their unique sales proposition and offering their customers products or opportunities that are aligned with their brand — as long as those offerings are consistent with their marketing messages. 

For example, specialty outdoor retailer REI reaches beyond retail by offering brand-adjacent experiences through REI Adventures. Customers customize their outdoor experience by choosing from more than 100 active vacations, family adventures and cycling tours. It’s a one-stop-shop where customers can try new products, learn valuable (and relevant) skills, consider new adventures and buy gear that will enhance their enjoyment of those experiences. 

REI offers this high degree of personalization by understanding its customers and leveraging its strong reach, resources and reputation in the outdoor recreational retail sector. By empowering customers to choose their degree of personalization and suggesting prompts from a source that customers trust, REI Adventures naturally and seamlessly extends its traditional brick-and-mortar stores. The results? REI’s bookings for domestic experiences are up 28% from 2019.

While most retailers seek to increase personalization online, “offline” person-to-person experiences may well be the next horizon for personalization. For example, some Macy’s, Starbucks and Sephora brick-and-mortar stores generate push notifications to your smartphone when you near their physical establishments.

The increasing sophistication and integration of AI, machine learning, GPS technology and customized company apps let retail stores initiate notifications and/or promote specific sales based on customers’ past purchases. When you are next engaged by a sales associate (after going there because your phone pinged that you were near the store), they may coincidentally recommend just the thing you’re looking for. 

Use personalization to attract new customers.

If I’ve learned one thing from my line of business, it’s that consumers crave VIP treatment. Research shows that today’s customers prize experiences over products. When you create a personalized experience for one customer, you lay out the welcome mat for new customers and revenue channels.

I see this every day as the owner of a premium travel company. We started out by serving clients who were specifically looking to rent luxury mansions as part of their vacations. It didn’t take long to realize that along with luxurious locations, our clients also sought personalization; they wanted access to exotic cars, high-end wines, difficult-to-get groceries and even celebrity personal trainers. Fulfilling their desires opened new opportunities, burnish our reputation and build our client base.

Similar models have shown to be hugely successful among premium automakers. Subscription-based services have been adopted by companies like Porsche and Volvo, which use their service to attract, engage and retain new customers who demand personalization. Porsche notes that 80% of its subscribers to its app, Porche Drive, are new to the company, and the demographics skew younger. 

This example shows how shifting to bespoke customer service options and solutions can attract new customers. In Porsche Drive’s case, they were able to get people who wanted access to high-end performance vehicles with low commitment, high convenience.

Setting up personalization processes, policies and procedures isn’t as challenging as it sounds. Here are a couple of suggested starting points.

• Set up systems to collect demographic data from your customers. Whether online or in print, invite (or better, incentivize) your customers to provide their names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers.

• Send short, personalized emails. Make sure your emails offer solutions aligned with your brand, solve customers’ problems and provide value.

• Follow up personally. This is especially important when engaging high-end clients.

• Invest in a robust customer relationship management system. This can ensure that everyone feels catered to. 

Inspire and delight your customers.

We all know that keeping current customers is easier and more affordable than getting new ones. Nevertheless, you and your team should practice ABI: Always Be Innovating. Every day, you and your team should conceive ways to personalize experiences that inform, engage, inspire and delight your current and potential customers.


Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?


Comments


Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *